By Jim Sedlak
Late last week, Republicans in Congress introduced the Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill. This is a last-ditch effort to get Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding taken away for one year.
Graham-Cassidy is the latest version of the Obamacare Repeal and Replace Bill. It also includes taking away approximately $400 million in taxpayer money from Planned Parenthood. The bill now provides the content for the Fiscal Year 2017 Reconciliation Act. Under the rules of the Senate, this bill need only pass the Senate with a majority vote and cannot be filibustered.
Before the summer recess, the Senate tried to pass an earlier version of the reconciliation bill, but failed by one vote when Senator John McCain voted against it. Now it is back with a lot of changes, and we hope that McCain and all other pro-life Republicans will support this one.
The problem, however, is time. This bill MUST be passed by the last day of the 2017 fiscal year. That day is Saturday, September 30, 2017. So, in just 10 days the bill must clear the House, then clear the Senate, and then be signed into law by President Trump. This is an almost impossible schedule.
To be clear, the Graham-Cassidy Bill will end Obamacare’s subsidizing of organizations that commit abortions. It would also end Obamacare’s individual and employer mandate penalties, allowing those who choose not to have insurance coverage not to have it. You will read that this bill will leave millions of Americans uninsured, but what the media does not report is that many of those are people who choose to be uninsured.
Graham-Cassidy will also replace Obamacare with block grants so that states can create their own programs to provide health insurance. Many experts who have read the details of the bill are of the opinion that this is the best alternative to Obamacare yet developed.
Much of the opposition to the bill comes from dedicated Obamacare supporters who are raising their voices because this new bill is being rammed through Congress with little discussion and little chance for amendments. The fact is, this isn’t the first time a party has rammed a large bill through Congress. You may remember that when Obamacare was first passed, members of Congress argued that they didn’t have time to even read the 1,000 page bill. It was then that Nancy Pelosi made her famous remark that Congress should pass the bill, then find out what was in it.
Reports from inside the Beltway indicate that the Graham-Cassidy Bill is gaining support in the Senate. It does not yet have the 50 votes needed to pass, but additional senators are signing on and Senate Republican leadership, as well as President Trump, are making phone calls to gather more support. Senate leadership has said that as soon as 50 votes are secured, the bill will be brought to the floor.
In addition to political activity in Congress, American Life League and all other national pro-life groups are working very hard to secure passage of the bill. And you can help! Call your two U.S. senators at (202) 224-3121 to urge them to support the Graham-Cassidy Bill. Our friends at FRC Action have created an e-mail you can send to the senators. Simply go to this site and send the e-mail.
One thing is sure. This bill, if passed with its current language, will take $400 million from Planned Parenthood. We cannot sit by and watch this opportunity slip away. We must all do everything we can in the next 10 days to pass this reconciliation bill and defund Planned Parenthood.
Jim Sedlak is executive director of American Life League, founder of STOPP International, and host of a weekly talk show on the Radio Maria network. He has successfully fought Planned Parenthood since 1985.